In 1977 Daniel Abraham introduced a product that has been helping procrastinators get ready for bikini season ever since. The brand’s promise is ingeniously summed up in its name – Slim-Fast. But somewhere along the way, the company seems to have knocked its head and woken up with amnesia, unable to remember its name. Slim-Fast appears to have lost sight of its largest asset and become just…slim.
Difference between Atkins and Slim Fast Diet
If you haven’t heard of the Atkins diet, stop reading right here and try to find a way out of your cave and into town for a bun-less cheeseburger. The rest of us have been hearing about the no-carb, fat’s-OK diet since the late 1990s. Indeed, Atkins mania has reached such a degree today that respected publications have recently suggested it may be responsible for actual fluctuations in commodity markets while Unilever, Slim-Fast’s parent company, is blaming it for a near 21 per cent fall-off in profits.
But what happened? It is not as if Slim-Fast never weathered a fad before (anyone remembers “The Zone”?) or as if it won’t have to again (the South Beach diet is the latest craze on our plate). The very premise of the diet industry is based on the “fad,” with each branded version just a sub-fad of the larger entity. However, Slim-Fast had an extra selling point: speed.
How does Slim Fast Diet work?
By its very name, Slim-Fast promises that its customers will not only lose weight but lose weight in a hurry. Yet, the only evidence that the brand is conscious of the second part of this promise is on its website, where a small tease tells us that we can “lose up to 10 lbs. by December 24th.” Meanwhile, all other Slim-Fast ads fail to capitalize on this differentiator. Stuffing TV ads with the before-and-after cliché, in addition to half-heartedly hyping the healthy lifestyle supposedly offered by its products, Slim-Fast is taking on the Atkins fad on Atkins’ terms — a battle it cannot, and will not, win.
Slim-Fast’s diets are based on eating fewer calories than the body burns, thus spurring the body to use fat stores, which results in weight loss. It’s math a five-year-old can do. The Atkins diet is radically different in claiming that how the body breaks down certain calories makes all the difference. But this is all so technical, isn’t a diet? Don’t we all just want to lose weight? No, and yes.
While the dieter of one to two decades ago may have been fooled or clueless about how the body loses weight, today’s obsessed know a staggering lot about the difference between a fat calorie and a carbohydrate calorie. As Slim-Fast scrambles to introduce new products such as soup and releases scientific studies claiming healthier benefits than the Atkins diet, odds are that nobody will be fooled. For so many years we have known Slim-Fast to be the impatient dieter’s choice. A sudden re-brand like this will simply lead the savvy to ask the obvious question: “Is it fast, or is it healthy?” Even the dimmest dieting bulbs among us are far too sceptical and battle-scarred to believe that both might be possible. Simply put, Slim-Fast is reversing on decades of the brand building because it got spooked, breaking one of the cardinal rules of long-term branding. (Anyone remembers New Coke?)
Atkins, as well as the other recent fads, such as the South Beach Diet and The Zone, all lack a strength that Slim-Fast is known for, speed. If Slim-Fast were wise, it would use these slimmer times to focus on an aspect that is unique to the brand — its speed, its bread and butter. There is the possibility that Slim-Fast could position itself to take advantage of another recent (and potential) fad that is gaining attention in the mainstream media. A September report by the University of California demonstrated the possibility that eating a low-calorie diet may slow ageing. A low-calorie diet — unlike a complex relationship between how the body metabolizes fats or all-natural foods — is the very essence of the Slim-Fast plan. It’s also a plain simple concept that anyone can process: lose weight fast and slow ageing.